Big and small waves

A friend once told me that grief was like stepping into the ocean and feeling the waves wash over you. Some of those waves hit hard. They’re giant, overwhelming, unrelenting torrents. Others are smaller and more manageable.

Over time, the waves tend to slow. The waters calm. But like the ocean, grief has no ending. It’s always there. We just learn to let go and flow.

I found the metaphor beautiful. I liked the idea of emotions flowing through us, demanding to be felt. Threatening to consume us if we didn’t acknowledge the wave, to burst out if we bottled it in.

I’ve found the same experience with music. For me it was, serendipitously, a song called Oceans by Seafret. It became my theme song during a melancholic season. I’d inevitably burst into tears every time it came on. I played it probably hundreds of times, almost as if testing my resolve, and crumbling every time.

Years later, I was driving in my car, my playlist on shuffle, when Oceans started playing. I went through the entire song with barely a pang in my chest or prickle in my eyes.

I marveled at how a song that once felt so all-consuming had now become (or returned to?) just a sad and heartfelt tune. How I could now play the next song without holding on to the last.

And that’s when I knew I had finally let that season of my life go.

Always with me, but no longer carrying me away with it.